Game Forty-Two, the New York Rangers at the Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are a scary hockey team. When they lose players like Patric Hornqvist and Pascal Dupuis, they find a way to pick up a guy like David Perron who seems to be clicking nicely with Sidney Crosby. The Penguins are one of the two teams in the Metropolitan Division (the other being the Islanders) that are fighting tooth-and-nail to be king of the mountain.
The Penguins are fifth in the league in goals, seventh in the league in goals against, fifth in the league in power play efficiency, and they have the second best penalty kill in the league. All of that has been accomplished with devastating injuries to key players to their lineup. So, in a word; scary. Like finding a guy dressed up as a mime sitting on your kitchen table at 3 in the morning scary.
The Rangers are going to have to play Rangers hockey to come away as the team that gets the better of a big four point swing in the Metropolitan Division this afternoon. They need to get shots on net, stay out of the box, and stick to Crosby and Evgeni Malkin like glue. It will be a big test for the Rangers' blue line, many of whom will apparently be here for the next five years or so (oh boy).
The New York Rangers' January Schedule
1/3 Sabres at Rangers, 7:00(win.) 1/7 Rangers at Ducks, 10:30(win.) 1/8 Rangers at Kings, 10:30(win.) 1/10 Rangers at Sharks, 10:00(win.) 1/13 Islanders at Rangers, 7:00(loss.) 1/15 Rangers at Bruins, 7:00(loss.) 1/16 Rangers at Blue Jackets, 7:00(win.)
1/18 Rangers at Penguins, 12:30
1/20 Senators at Rangers, 7:00
1/27 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00
1/29 Canadiens at Rangers, 7:00
1/31 Hurricanes at Rangers, 7:00
Mike's Player to Watch: Martin St. Louis
Marty has 33 points in 42 games halfway through his first full season as a New York Ranger. Those numbers are hardly anything stellar, but they are solid. Even through enduring some noteworthy scoring slumps this year, St. Louis has been a huge part of the Rangers offense and still very much feels like the focal point of the power play. The Rangers need St. Louis to have a big second half to the 2014-15 campaign if they want to return to the postseason. St. Louis has a penchant for excellent play in big games, and this afternoon's game sure feels like it is a little more than the forty-second game of the regular season for the Rangers.
Hope you enjoy the game and the football today! LGR!